The Mother Brought Us This Far: Motherland: Fort Salem’s Finale

The Mother Brought Us This Far: Motherland: Fort Salem’s Finale

“The mother wouldn’t bring us this far… would she?”

Tally asks that around the midway point of the finale, when all seems lost, and it reminded me of the ongoing struggle with endings.

War is War and Hell is Hell

When a TV show ends, we all hope that it’s a planned, happy ending, where everyone we love lives happily ever after. But the reality is that life is never that neat. Our lives don’t end without loss or pain, and balancing our desire for happiness with that world is never easy. A true ending comes to us with the pain, to allow us to feel the joy more acutely. The best example of that impossibility and complexity remains the most popular TV finale in the history of linear television: M*A*S*H

For those of you too young to remember, M*A*S*H was a series about the Korean War, based on a movie with the same name, based on a book with the same name. The series lasted longer than the war, and came out doing Vietnam, and quickly became an allegory. Pretty much everyone remembers Hawkeye’s ‘War is war and Hell is hell’ comment:

When the show finally ending, the last episode had everything. Some people had a happy ending, some people had a tragic one that left you wondering where happiness could be found, and some people died. Hawkeye had a nervous breakdown (and when you finally learn why, it could make you cry), and we’re left with the underlying feeling that war has destroyed so much wonder and beauty in the world.

For Goddess and Country

This is the world Motherland: Fort Salem walks into. The final season has been the pinnacle of the war between the witches and the Camarilla, a still mysterious group whose goals elude logic. They are so horrible, that age old enemies join forces just to try and save the world but, as Tally foresaw earlier in the season (and her visions always came true), the world will end with Raelle and her witch bomb.

Unlike the doctors in M*A*S*H, however, the witch soldiers of Fort Salem go into the final fight to fight. They are no longer innocent children (even though they are still very young), and they long ago lost the ability to be innocent bystanders. As we saw through the last season, the young women of the army began to see the cracks in their centuries long obsession and worship of General Alder, of the problems that come with blind faith and following.

We’ve seen Tally go from naive virgin to capable soldier who loves Alder with all her heart, but sees the flaws. Abigail, the pinnacle of generations of Bellweathers, looses her own blinders and sees the army and the wars for what it is. And Raelle, our wonderful shitbird who didn’t want to go, because she’d already lost her mother to this idiocy, steps up to be the biggest hero of them all.

And yes, we saw the double wedding in the penultimate episode, and had that moment where we thought “They’re wrapping everything up! We’ll get happiness!”

At What Cost?

The trouble is, to end a show about war, it has to come with a cost.

The most damning moment for me in the M*A*S*H finale was when Winchester learned of the death of his musician friends. The music they shared was ruined. This man, who kept his civility, his veneer of cultured humanity, finally had to lose it in order to fully change.

When I looked at the last episode of Motherland: Fort Salem, I wondered who would be forced to lose their last shred of innocence. The obvious would be Tally, but the truth is that this series, this story, from start to finish was about the trio. The three: Warrior, Healer, Seer. They came from totally different backgrounds, they had different obsessions and goals, and yet together become better and stronger.

So the cost? That ultimate payout to remind us all that war is worse than hell, had to come from all three. We will have loss, we will have tears, and we will see the end.

The End of the World As We Know It

“The mother wouldn’t bring us this far… would she?”

The marriage of ‘earth and sky’ has been touted for so long, and we all thought it was Abigail and Adil, her husband. There was also the vision of Raelle destroying the world. But what if those aren’t the ends?

What if the end isn’t an end?

We began the series by saying the words.

Tonight, you will finally hear the answers.

The mother brought us to the end, and what happens next is up to us.

A

The loose threads come together to bring closure, while offering a hope of a better future as Motherland: Fort Salem airs its final episode.

Watch the finale of Motherland: Fort Salem tonight on Freeform.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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